Knowledge for Development

Feature articles

The European Commission's International Science & Technology Cooperation

Europe has a unique position in the world stemming from its long-standing interaction with all countries in the world, adherence to universal humanistic values and the will as well as capacity in mobilising knowledge towards sustainable development, economic growth and competitiveness. The European research area (ERA) and its international dimension provide a powerful opportunity for defining Europe's role in S&T for its own sustainable development as well as its partner regions and the global level.The EU's pioneering experience in promoting N-S and S-S partnerships in science and technology as well as human and institutional capacity building is a valuable asset upon which Europe may build its future relationship with its partner in the developing world based on the principle of mutual interest. As the international S&T cooperation programme (INCO) believes that knowledge cannot be reduced to the status of a commodity that must be produced to remove a development bottle-neck it seeks to include the knowledge system of developing countries in the generation and use of development relevant knowledge. This is the preferred approach of INCO research efforts, reflecting its philosophy of promoting active partnerships in RTD.


Productive agriculture benefits more than just food security

A new report, ‘The social, economic and environmental value of agricultural productivity in the European Union’, has been published by the Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture in Germany. The study assesses data on the economic, social and environmental effects of productive agriculture (which uses modern technologies such as agricultural machinery, new seed varieties, organic and/or mineral fertilizers, and plant protection products and solutions) in the EU. According to the findings, each percentage point increase in agricultural productivity in the EU: feeds more than 10 million humans per year; increases the annual social welfare generated in European agriculture by approximately 500 million; contributes €500 to the annual income of an average EU farmer; reduces net virtual land imports by about 1.2 million hectares; acts to save 220 million tons in CO2 emissions; preserves global biodiversity equivalent to fauna and flora of up to 600,000 hectares of rainforest. Switching to low input agricultural methods, with average 31 % lower yields than productive agriculture in the EU, would come at the cost of these benefits, according to the report's authors.   (Farming Online UK, 04/11/2013)


Research and innovation for sustainable agriculture and food and nutrition security

DG-DEVCO’s of the European Commission is reconsidering its approach to agricultural research for development (AR4D) in the context of current policy priorities on sustainable agriculture, nutrition and resilience and how it is positioned within the European and global agenda to achieve maximum impact. There are four main pillars: Ensuring the success of global and regional AR4D initiatives, building on existing AR4D initiatives and African research organisations supporting the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process; Improving European leadership, coordination and influence, in particular complementing the Horizon 2020 programme of Directorate General Research and Innovation (DG RTD);. Exploring new strategic directions to put research into use and achieve impact, particularly on innovation and value chains, and Ensuring that AR4D delivers impact at country and local level. (EuropeAid, 11/10/2014)


FARA & EFARD Consultation on Agricultural Research Programming for FP7-FAB and FSTP, Brussels, 14 – 16 April 2008

The Joint Africa-EU Strategy, adopted in Lisbon in December 2007, provides a long-term vision for a strategic partnership between Africa and the European Union. The EC is supporting Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) as part of its EU Development and Research policies. The 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technology – Food Agriculture and Biotechnologies (FP7-FAB) and the Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP) are the two main instruments contributing to the support of ARD at the global, continental and sub-regional level. As such, the EC has facilitated a consultation between European and African ARD experts, organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD), making use of their existing Platform for African – European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD). The workshop was supported and facilitated by CTA. The general objective of the consultation was to establish priority areas of cooperation to increase the impact of agricultural research and knowledge systems on rural productivity, poverty reduction, food security and sustainable management of natural resources. More specifically, it was to identify targeted research topics and activities, taking into account the 10 broad priority areas to be funded in 2009 and beyond by FP7-FAB and the FSTP global non-CGIAR components in order to assure coherence, complementarily and synergy among the two programmes.